The sun is back, we’ve basked in glorious weather the entire Bank Holiday weekend (a miracle in itself), and we’re already into June. This means another wrap-up of the best new music of the past month on /amodelofcontrol.com.
As has been the case for a while, this continues to represent my broad spread of listening at the moment, which doesn’t necessarily mean that I’m listening to industrial music all of the time. Indeed, I’m more likely to be listening to other styles at the moment, and that is very much reflected in this month’s ten songs.
Related to this, I’m back livestreaming again as of the past week (indeed with /Breadcrumb Trail/003/A Post-Rock Livestream tonight). All other upcoming livestreams will be detailed on this page as they are confirmed, as well as on my Twitch schedule page.
As usual, if you’ve got something you want me to hear, something I should be writing about, or even a gig or Livestream I should be attending, e-mail me or drop me a line on Facebook (details below).
It has been a long journey for Noise Unit – indeed almost as long as Bill Leeb’s “main” band Front Line Assembly. Originally formed as a collaboration between Leeb and Marc Verhaeghen of The Klinik, Verhaeghen left the duo and Rhys Fulber joined Leeb instead. It had become a very much occasional thing – there has only been one new album in the past two decades – after prolific work in the nineties, so I must say I’m a little surprised that they have returned to it now, but then, I guess we’ve all had more time on our hands recently. The song itself is a surging, powerful track, one that perhaps nods back to earlier Noise Unit material, but also to the industrial-techno work that Fulber has been working on recently. Either way, I’m looking forward to hearing the album.
/End of the Night
A Place to Bury Strangers – like a number of other bands in recent times – have moved to releasing material on their own label, and this upcoming EP is the first release on it. Not a lot has changed in Oliver Ackermann’s world, though. The guitars still shimmer and snarl like there’s a whole army of them, Ackermann’s vocals aren’t entirely recognisable, and even at a regular volume this feels a few notches louder than anything else I’m writing about this week. Thus, everything is right in the world, at least when it comes to A Place to Bury Strangers.
The long-running goth project Lycia has been going through an extraordinary purple patch over the past decade or so, having picked up the threads of their past while experimenting, too, with new ideas and sounds that rather than providing a shock of the new, have frankly amazed by making it feel like they have been doing this all the long. This new EP continues that trend. The lead song A Quiet Way to Go is a magnificent dreamy, goth piece – Lycia as I’ve always loved them – but more intriguing is the track that follows. Do You Bleed? has the dark, forbidding grind of a machine, that hisses and snarls while Tara Vanflower sneers her vocals on top.
/Love Songs For End Times
I really did rather love Plastic Heart, the previous album from the Canadian duo Ghost Twin, and it was a bit of a shock to realise that it is already four years since the release of that. To put it mildly, a lot has changed since then in the world. Interestingly, so have Ghost Twin, it seems. There’s something different about their sound this time around that I can’t quite put my finger on – but perhaps it is that Karen Asmundson’s vocals feel more…ethereal, rather lighter than before. The pick of the songs released from the album in advance of full release this week is Pet Ceremony, based around a synth rhythm of pulsing power that drags everything forward in the wake, while Karen sings an intriguing lyric that going on the title, could be a note of devotion and love to a pet…or to a human lover in other ways.
The death of The Very Rev. D Wayne Love, perhaps understandably, seemed to stop A3 in their tracks for a period, while they dealt with everything. So I would have understood had they chose to end their career there, but this anarchic acid-country collective had other ideas, and they are back with a new album. The lead single is a groovy, catchy track that nods to the escapist nature of the modern world, where getting out of your mind on something (drink, drugs) is a way to deal with the pressures of life – and as well as that, pays tribute to the co-writer of the song, the political artist and campaigner Pete Dunne, who died last year (and whom A3 had worked on with his own material, too, before he died).
Frank Turner has been playing early versions of this song on-and-off over the past year, until the final version of it was released just recently. I’d kinda vowed to myself a little while back that I didn’t want to listen to the endless stream of artists “offering their take on lockdown” in song – after all, I’ve already been through it myself, thanks, and I didn’t need to hear about it again – but as ever, Turner had a different take on things. On this raucous rock track, he manages to get across some of the things I’ve been missing. That joyous feeling of getting together, celebrating life, friendship, and often, music. I want to be at a gig singing along with my favourite songs again, I want to be shooting the shit, getting drunk with my friends (with no restrictions or distancing). Yet again, it looks like that might be moved that bit further into the future. But then, we’ve waited long enough, what’s that little bit longer?
/I Detach EP
The longstanding power of ESA is reinforced by the latest single from the mind of Jamie Blacker. I Detach is all about the pummelling force of that drum rhythm, and the restraint and release of the breakdowns, while Blacker growls cryptic lyrics about power and detachment. Fifteen years in, eight albums and various EPs past, his remarkable, unique sound has lost none of its intrigue, that’s for sure – and this time around there’s another fascinating, odd video to accompany it.
There’s something about Twin Temple that, on paper, really shouldn’t work. Satanic doo-wop? I mean, really? And then, you listen, and you realise that they really believe in this, and that they make this work by their commitment, and their style. Not to mention their clear, deep love of the original doo-wop music that means they are able to pastiche and twist them into the, er, darker side, but retain the extraordinary catchiness of the sound. As well, this song sounds a bit like Amy Winehouse celebrating the Goddess Babalon, and you know what? That’s absolutely fine by me.
/Zeal & Ardor
Something of an unexpected release last week was the first track from the third Zeal & Ardor album – apparently self-titled, although no release date yet – and there was another surprise in store when the song revealed itself to be perhaps the most aggressive Z&A song yet. Manuel Gagneux is clearly in no mood to compromise, this track bringing to the fore the blastbeat percussion and furious vocals, as Gagneux makes clear to the perpetrators of racially motivated crimes that they have nowhere to hide, and justice will find them one way or another.
Something that, unusually, I picked up thanks to a (for once!) well-targeted Facebook ad, this turns out to be experimental post-metal from the UK (and while the song was released a while ago, it has been included on the new album, recently released). Nowadays, it seems, the solo project of Umair Chaudhry (a musician who’s been involved in a number of other bands in the south of England over the past decade or so), this is fascinating, dense music that is far heavier than the gentle intro suggests. But then, Hide has nearly fifteen minutes to unfold over, and it flits between waves of dainty ambience and torrents of thick, bass-assisted riffage that sounds less like a storm than the earth opening up to swallow you whole.